Despite a steadying economy and unemployment dropping to nine percent, the number of unemployed in Galway city and county rose again last month by 346, with a total of 16,000 people now out of work.
The figures have been called “startling” by Independent county councillor and Galway West candidate James Charity, who said they also reveal that Government’s Western Action Plan for Jobs, to combat unemployment in the, West is “not working”.
“The Government line of a widespread economic recovery bears no reality for people on the ground throughout the west, but is instead eastern centric,” he said. “This follows news that the number of unemployed in Galway rose again last month by 346, at a time when seasonal Christmas employment should have seen the numbers, at least temporarily, go in the opposite direction.”
He also noted that “each and every area of the county was affected” by the rise in the live register figures. Cllr Charity said the “stark reality” is that employment figures in County Galway, and across the State, are “heavily influenced” by emigration. He also pointed to OECD figures showing Ireland having the highest number of native born people in the world living abroad, at 17.5 per cent, ahead of New Zealand and Portugal on 14 per cent, and Mexico on 12 per cent.
Cllr Charity also called into question some of the Government’s own figures regarding unemployment, noting that the 81,000 in Job Activation schemes, like the controversial JobBridge scheme, are removed from Government statistics.